The use of wind as a renewable energy resource is already well established in the UK and the UK has the greatest wind energy potential in Europe. However, it still contributes a relatively small amount of energy to our overall needs.

There are still a number of issues that need to be addressed in this area including improving efficiencies, improving reliability, handling intermittency of supply and environmental issues together with public perception and acceptability.

We are supporting research in this area with various projects including the SUPERGEN Wind hub and a Doctoral training centre at the University of Strathclyde. There is also a CDT in wind and marine energy systems based at the University of Strathclyde which will be running from 2014.

A number of the projects are collaborative with industry and other institutes such as the Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory and Scottish Association for Marine Science.

Research highlights include the highly regarded report by UKERC on “The Costs and Impacts of Intermittency”, dealing largely with the intermittency inherent in wind generators. The report was targeted at non-specialists and policy makers, but also provided new information for the expert community.

Future research in wind energy will help ensure that the governments future renewable energy targets are met, specifically addressing the challenges of installing and operating offshore wind farms.